BREAKING NEWS: In 11-hour battle, Jordanian forces destroy ISIS sleeper cell planning major terror attacks to destabilize the kingdom. Here’s the latest.

Jordan-securityforces2In the most-sweeping anti-terrorist operation inside Jordan’s borders in years, government security forces have uncovered, attacked and destroyed an ISIS cell in the northern city of Irbid. The evidence strongly suggests the cell was planning major terrorists attacks against government and civilian targets to destabilize the kingdom.

Jordanian intelligence operatives were reportedly watching the cell for the past two weeks. Officials ordered a preemptive strike on the jihadists late Tuesday night before the cell could carry out its plans.

It was another reminder that ISIS leaders are, in fact, plotting to attack Jordan and overthrow King Abdullah II — as I write about in my two recent novels — and that as Christians we need to be actively, faithfully, consistently praying for the people and leaders of Jordan, including the King.

The Apostle Paul commands us, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)

Let us, therefore, pray for the Lord to grant security and stability of this moderate Arab nation and protect them from the savagery of the Islamic State and other jihadists. Let’s pray for the Lord to show His grace and mercy to every citizen of Jordan and the many refugees who have fled there from the Syrian and Iraqi wars, seeking a safe haven in a time of great darkness and a region on fire. Let’s also pray for the Christians in Jordan, as they seek to be a blessing to their nation in every possible way, including as a faithful witnesses of the hope and forgiveness and good news found in Christ Jesus.

Reports indicate the ISIS fighters put up fierce resistance when cornered. “The terrorists refused to surrender and put up strong resistance using automatic weapons,” a spokesman for the General Intelligence Directorate told the BBC, adding “those killed were wearing explosive belts.”

The BBC also reported that “weapons, ammunition, explosives and detonators were also found at the scene.”

The battle in Irbid — which is close to the Syrian border and about 50 miles north of the capital city of Amman — reportedly lasted eleven hours.

The attack on the ISIS sleeper cell took place just days after Jordan’s King Abdullah II met in Washington with President Obama, which I wrote about yesterday. During his meetings, the King warned of the steadily rising threat that the Islamic State poses to the Hashemite Kingdom and the fact that ISIS is trying to recruit jihadists from among the 1.3 million-plus Syrian refugees now residing in Jordan.

Eight ISIS terrorists were killed. Twenty-two more were immediately arrested. This provided intelligence that led to at least 13 other ISIS terrorists being arrested in short order in different parts of the country.

One Jordanian soldier was killed during the intense operation. At least three others were wounded.

“Nearly 4,000 Jordanians belong to jihadists groups,” mostly the Islamic State, reported Agence France Presse.

“More than 400 Jordanians have been killed fighting in jihadist ranks in Syria and Iraq since 2011,” added the AFP report.

I have a special place in my heart for the people and leaders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I’ve been there at least a half dozen times and have dear friends in Jordan.

So much of Bible history took place on East side of the Jordan River. The Scriptures teach us that Moses and the children of Israel lived there and traveled through there. The Hebrew prophet Elijah was born and raised on the East side of the river, and went back to heaven there in a chariot of fire. The prophet Elisha was given the mantle of ministry on the East side of the river. John the Baptist lived and ministered there. The Lord Jesus was likely baptized on the East side.

What’s more, there are many — and sobering — prophecies in the Bible about the future of the country we now call Jordan in the “last days.”

I hope, therefore, that you’ll join me in praying regularly and faithfully for the Jordanians. God loves them dearly. Shouldn’t we?

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